MERGER OF CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WITH SECULAR INSTITUTION

Vance R. Koven vrkoven at WORLD.STD.COM
Fri Jan 4 14:52:29 PST 2002


At 12:19 PM -0500 1/4/02, Kim Daniels wrote:
>I'd argue that the widespread federal and state legislative
>consensus against forcing religious hospitals to perform abortions stands as
>strong evidence that forcing them to violate their beliefs would *not* be in
>the public interest.

I suppose it depends on your assumptions concerning who initiates the
merger. If the Catholic institution initiates it, nobody is forcing
them to do anything since it's an entirely voluntary transaction
whether to merge or not. If the secular institution initiates it,
then it is the one that has to answer to the state for the provision
of health services that might otherwise disappear.

As to Blum and Jackson, I don't think they apply. The issue we've
been talking about is not whether a hospital can, on its own
initiative, discontinue a line of service, which I assume it can
within the regulatory framework unless it's a
public hospital. Here we're talking about a *state* process of
issuing a discretionary ruling on whether the merger of these
entities is in the public interest. It would be an interesting
question, perhaps, whether, had the litigants in Blum and Jackson
made their cases at the regulatory level and not by way of collateral
attack on the actions of the regulated private entities, the state
action analysis would have been different. In any event, the question
I asked didn't have to do with what the hospitals can do, but what
the state AG can do.

--
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*Vance R. Koven  Counselor at Law    20 Park Plaza Ste. 633   Boston MA 02116*
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